Doing Business in a Digital Moment

By Samuel Greengard

It wasn’t too long ago that business decision-making typically required methodical research, focus groups and surveys followed by a few rounds of animated discussion among key executives.

That model is now getting absolutely nuked. According to a thought-provoking Gartner report, “Digital Business Will Compete and Seek Opportunity in the Span of a Moment,” the hallmark of a digital business will be the ability to spot opportunities that could span a matter of just seconds. Gartner refers to this concept as a “business moment” and describes it as “a transient opportunity that is exploited dynamically.”

As the physical and virtual worlds become more blurred—and digital technology accelerates through the Internet of Things—an unprecedented convergence of people, business and things that disrupts existing business models will occur, states Jorge Lopez, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. This includes recent models born out of the Internet and e-business.

“Digital business will break down traditional barriers between industry segments, creating completely new value chains and new business opportunities that may not be filled by incumbent players,” Lopez observes. “It will also challenge existing industry boundaries and challenge the dominance of leading players in an industry and cause them to rethink the businesses they are in.”

Alas, most business leaders will view digital business “as a simple extension of an enterprise technology or an e-business past.” However, this approach, what Gartner refers to as “digitization” or simply using technology to automate existing processes, is no longer adequate. “To compete in digital business, enterprises must digitalize their models and rethink their value in a world of people, business and things,” Lopez adds.

According to the report, business moments are specific transient opportunities—sometimes only a second or fraction of a second and spanning multiple channels and ecosystems—that illustrate how people, businesses and the Internet of Things interact. They represent moments of untapped opportunity and they can rapidly change the dynamics across industries.

What’s a business moment? A rain gutter might indicate when it is clogged and alert a homeowner that it needs cleaning. The system might check in with local service providers, see who is available and what type of promotion and pricing different firms offer. The homeowner could then make an immediate decision.

CIOs should pay close attention because business moments introduce an entirely different way to view the value stream, Lopez points out. In the future, the trademark of a digital business will be the ability to spot these opportunities, however fleeting. As Lopez explains, this new digital order will challenge existing industry boundaries and challenge the dominance of leading players in an industry. “It will cause them to rethink and re-evaluate their businesses.”

About the Author

Samuel Greengard is a contributing writer for CIO Insight. To read his previous CIO Insight blog post, “There’s No App for That!”, click here.

Samuel Greengard
Samuel Greengard
Samuel Greengard writes about business, technology and other topics. His book, The Internet of Things (MIT Press) was released in the spring of 2015.

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